The Detroit Lions have had a checkered history in terms of dealing with star players, and to at least one NFL player, that needs to stop starting with cornerback Darius Slay.
Slay, who’s been the subject of multiple trade rumors this week, has a murky future with the Lions. But that hardly changes the fact that Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Johnathan Cyprien thinks the franchise needs to do right by Slay, step up and pay the man.
Here’s what Cyprien wrote:
Slay quickly re-tweeted the sentiment from Cyprien, showing he clearly agrees with the notion. Despite some of his frustration in the wake of the team’s move to deal Quandre Diggs, Slay has said he loves the Motor City and wishes to stick around.
Despite some deadline calls, it makes sense the Lions would have a high price tag on their cornerback thanks to all he can do. Slay has been elite since being a second round draft pick of the Lions back in 2013, and has developed into one of the elite shut down corners in the entire league. He’s also a star for the Lions in the community, and arguably, is one of the top faces of the franchise at this point in time.
This past offseason, Slay missed the OTA period for Detroit amid wanting a new contract. While the Lions haven’t worked anything out with him, they also haven’t closed the door on making his re-signing a priority in the future, meaning a trade is possible if the team wants to move on. Slay also had a strong reaction to the team dealing Quandre Diggs for a draft pick last week.
Such a move would likely confuse fans, as unlikely as it may seem in the moment. Obviously, many on the outside like Cyprien don’t want to see such a thing play out.
Though Detroit re-signed Slay a few years back, the team could be aggressive with their cornerback this offseason on the open market. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, while Slay might not be traded right now, a deal could be struck next offseason to move the cornerback to a new location who might be more apt to give him a new contract.
Here’s what Birkett wrote:
“I’d be surprised if the Lions dealt Slay, their best cornerback – even if he hasn’t played at a Pro Bowl level this year – before Tuesday’s deadline. The more likely scenario is that the Lions send Slay to a team willing to give him a new contract at some point before next year’s draft.”
The contract seems to be the big sticking point with Slay. Are the Lions prepared to shell out the cash to Slay for the long term? He is 28 years old, and is theoretically in his prime. Cornerbacks, however, can have a short shelf life, especially if they get dinged up. This season, Slay has suffered a bulky hamstring, which was injured ironically enough in a game against the Eagles in September.
All that aside, he’s an elite talent and a fan favorite in Detroit. Trading him would likely cause an uproar from the fans, and might disappoint fellow players alike, who want to see the Lions do the right thing for Slay.
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